Friday, April 28, 2006

Katherine's shout out

I was reading the current issue of Scrapbook Answers last night, and there was an article about Wendi Speciale of Speciale Designs, and she gave a little shout out to Katherine. (pg 24)

We had a really busy day today... the booth was packed almost all day and my classes were great. I had pretty full classes with lots of friendly people... very fun! I saw Amy, who was my TA in St. Louis and met some other online scrappers... it was a good day all around. I am looking forward to getting home on Sunday, though, because there is so much work to still do. This would be a good time to figure out how to clone a couple extra copies of myself!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Hello from Nashville!

We got into Nashville safe and sound last night, and I am having a great time visiting with Johanna and Sheri. This morning we went to visit The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson's home. 95% of the house is the original architecture and furnishings, and it is just incredible. (the grounds are as gorgeous as the house.) I had a great time. We got back to meet up with Teresa and Ronda and put the booth together, and then we headed out again. Sadly, the Country Music Hall of Fame was closed, so we went to dinner and a movie. We saw "Failure to Launch" and it was a riot... I laughed through the whole thing.

At the movie theater complex, I found the Alabama Grill. Alabama is Jack's favorite band, so I stopped in and took a bunch of pictures for him and even bought his a shirt. If I can't get the band's autograph, at least I can take pictures of their autographs! See how much I love ya, Babe... I am stalking photos and getting squished pennies made for you... :0)

Chet is having a blast at cubscout daycamp this week. I don't know if I will have any pictures of the actual camp, but I will take some shots of the things he is making and the badges he is earning. Have fun, Chet!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Off to Nashville

I spent yesterday making some jewelry and finishing up some assignments for an upcoming City Planner feature. This morning I am busy finishing up laundry and getting packed to fly out to Nashville this afternoon. We have some sights planned to go and see, and I am going to try hard to go to the Opry on Friday night! See you all when I get back!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Window shopping for the yard

I got an email from the realtor yesterday asking if Billy and Johanna would be able to feed the fish until we got there. Fish??? Yep, apparently the little garden pond has a bunch of koi in it, so we are getting fish and turkeys with the property. We will see how long either of them last with the cats and boys!

Today I was browsing for the stuff we want for the yard. We are turning a big part of the property into a BMX track for the kids to play on, and we are eventually going to make a portion of the front pasture a basketball/volleyball/tennis court. I have always wanted to get the kids a big wooden playset as well, and now that we will have the yardspace to have it, I can't wait! This is the teeter totter we are getting. This is the playset they have all oogled over for a couple of years. And this is the waterslide we never thought we would have room for! We can't make it all a reality for at least a few more months, but I cannot wait!

We heard the escrow is supposed to close this weekend. Nerves... I am all nerves right now!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Back from Mesa

I am home, and I had a good time in Mesa this weekend! I love going to Mesa and seeing my AZ friends. I got there Wednesday night and Katherine and I stayed up chatting half the night. Thanks for having me as a houseguest this weekend, Katherine!! We went to Matt's BMX race on Friday night, and that was fun. Matt came in first in his 2nd qualifying moto, and it was great to be there to cheer him on.

Thursday morning was set-up, and since the floor doesn't open until 10, Wendi came by to get me and we headed to Ikea for me to buy the beds and get them shipped off. She brought her husband's truck, which is a behomoth. We stopped at Sonic on the way back to the show for some diet cherry coke, and I snapped this shot when she had to climb out of the truck to place her order. To get this picture she had to stand on her very tippy toes... LOL...

I took this shot of Meghan and I Saturday night after set-up... she is such a sweet kid! She came and TA's for Katherine all day on Saturday, and then helped us tear down afterwards.

Gayle drove down for the show, and we had to go get some change Saturday morning. She decided she didn't want to have to look for parking when we got back, so she stole a parking cone and reserved her space before we left. It didn't work, though. When we got back somebody had just moved the cone out of the way and parked in her spot. It was worth a shot, though... LOL

Okay, if you know anything about me at all, you know I will do just about anything to help out a cause to benefit kids who are in the children's hospitals across the country. (Let's not talk about what a blubbering mess I become when I listen to the St. Jude's radiothons to raise money for their hospital.) Lil
brought their summer road tour to the show, and they were giving boxes of new stuff for anybody who donated products for the kids in the Orange County Children's Hospital to use. If you have some great products you aren't using, and you are going to be at any of the conventions or stores where Lil Davis will be teaching at, please drop them off so the kids can use them to scrapbook with. Yes, you will get a cool box of Lil Davis products, but for me that isn't the point. I have seen what it does for the kids who are cooped up in the hospitals for treatments to be able to sit and create some pages or cards with the supplies that are provided for them, and it is incredible to see how happy it makes them!

I had to get my history fix in while I was there... :0) The Mesa convention center is actually located in a historic district, and right across the street is the Sirrine House. It is only open from October to March, to I didn't get to see the tour, but I did enjoy admiring the brickwork and construction of the house!

Okay, Kara.... this one is for you! When I saw Margie on Friday I told her about the new stalker working for us, and asked her to take a picture with me before the end of the show so I could send it to you... LOL. She saw me at lunch on Saturday, and we snapped a couple of quick shots.

I have known Diana for almost ten years in our email loop, and she stopped by the show to say hi. It is amazing how long our little group of "loopies" had been together!

Yesterday, Katherine's hubby John took me back to the airport to come home. The airport was packed, but I got through the security points in time and caught my plane home. I felt like a complete idiot as I was walking out to meet Jack and the kids at the truck. I was on one of those moving sidewalks outside, and my shoe got caught in the end of it, which caused me to trip. Since my shoe was stuck, and my hands were full of my suitcases, I found myself falling straight forward face first. I managed to land on my knees instead, but it was a hard fall and I ended up hobbling back to the truck. I just wanted the earth to swallow me whole then and there as the guys who materialized out of nowhere kept asking if I was okay or needed help. Real graceful on my part, let me tell ya!

The kids were part of a musical play about Jesus yesterday, but Chet, Todd, Kyle, and Beth were all sick. Somebody filled in for Chet's role (one of the disciples), and I got to the church in time to snap a shot of Faith (who was one of the children Jesus talked to) and Matt (who was Jesus) in their costumes. I hate that I missed it, but my mom videotaped it so I at least get to see it. I am hoping the kids all feel better today and get over this bug quickly.

The older kids have a Sign Design performance tonight, and I am taking pictures of the whole team afterwards. I don't have the best set-up to take the pictures, so hopefully they turn out nice!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Boxes everywhere

There is a new feature up at ScrapVillage using the We R Memory Keepers new products. These are the two cards I made for this feature, and by clicking on the link you can see the layouts the other City Planners made for it. If you use the Pages by Design system, or just really enjoy sketches check back at the first of the month for the Blueprint I put together for May! (This link takes you to Cheryl's April Blueprint.)

What a week it has been! There has been so much packing to get done, and we have gone through every single box we had in our storage shed to clear a ton of stuff out. My goal was to not move a single thing across the country that we didn't know for sure we want to keep! I think we are getting pretty close to being done with the sorting and packing, and I will be glad for that!

Escrow is supposed to close by the end of the month, so we are just sort of hanging here waiting for dates to be confirmed so we can make arrangements for utilities and the moving truck. The goal is here to get 6 kids, 3 cats, 4 kittens, 3 dogs, and a houseful of stuff across the country and keep my sanity intact. If you have any tips for success in that goal, I sure could use them!

I am off tomorrow for the Mesa, AZ convention. I am working in the booth this weekend, so stop by and say hi! You won't be able to miss me... since half of my clothes are packed I am going to be wearing my Pages By Design t-shirts, and they are bright enough to be seen a mile away!

I am also going to be stopping into Ikea to grab some beds and other fun things for the new house. I have been wanting this bed forever, and we are grabbing some new bunkbeds for the boys. My plans for a truck fell through, so if you are in the area and want to go shopping with me, holler! I still have to figure out how to get the beds from Ikea to the UPS store!

I have a lot of photos to share tonight of the kids, but I took them all on my regular SLR so I have to get the film developed to disk today before I can post them. Amidst the packing and project deadlines, I did fit some real-life into this week at home. I took the yearly Easter shots, the kids had a performance on Saturday, and there was this 12 photos in a day thing I was trying to participate in! I'll be back soon!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Look who's blogging!

Today I fulfilled a promise to Matt, and we got a blog set up for him. He is calling it Sketches, which I love since it features his artwork and little sketches of his daily life. I was teasing him because we barely had it up and running, and he already had a girl post on it. Made his day! Please feel free to stop by and say hi to him if you have a chance. I am looking forward to seeing what he does with it now. (If you happen to know any other DeMolay, Rainbow Girls, or Job's Daughters members with their own blogs, he would love to have the links!)


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Little Comedian

Todd cracks me up all the time. The things he says coupled with the expressions he gives are a combination sure to incite much laughter. I am adding this today so I don't forget it. I need to make a little book about some of the funny things my kids say.

Anyway, I had a lot of errands to run today, and I took the kids with me. I pulled through Sonic to grab a diet coke with cherry syrup... mmmmm... and Todd was sitting in the middle seat by the driver's side window instead of the back seat. While I was ordering my diet coke, he rolled down his window, and as soon as I was done speaking he starts to say "and IIIIII want...." The other kids started chuckling at this, and I began to roll up his window with the controls by the steering wheel. As the window went higher, his voice got louder as he tried to make sure the clerk heard him say "I want a double cheeseBURGER!" (No, I don't let him eat double cheeseburgers, but he is on a kick lately that doubles sound better.) When I pulled up to the window to get my drink, he rolls his window back down and hollers out "and a coke!" Even the clerk was laughing at this point. I rolled his window back up and locked it with my controls, but we all chuckled about it as we went to pick up Jack.

Last Sunday he was at church with my mom, and the Sunday school teacher asked him if he wanted to go see the goldfish that they have. He looked at her and said,"I can't.. I am allergic to goldfish unless I eat them." I don't know where he gets this stuff from, but I do love the laughter he adds to our lives!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Home from St. Louis with lots of photos!

I arrived home yesterday afternoon in one piece, and I am looking forward to having a week or so off before I head off to the next show! I had a good time in St. Louis, and I have a ton of pictures to prove it!

I was working with Susan, Shelly, Sharla, and Kara this weekend, and we all headed into downtown St. Louis on Thursday to visit the Gateway Arch. The first thing we saw when we were parking was the new Busch Stadium for the Cardinals, which was opening this weekend. (On Friday night Sharla, Kara, and I were having dinner at the table next to the Cardinals' owner, and I dared Kara, who is Miss Stalker, to go ask for his photo, but she wouldn't do it.)

We walked over to the arch, which is stunning in its size. Between the four of us with cameras I believe we shot the arch from every conceivable angle. For this one I actually laid down on the ground to get as much into the viewfinder as possible.

The grounds around the arch are gorgeous... green grass, ponds, riverbeds, red-breasted robins, and there were even geese flying over our heads. Kara and I decided to hug a tree.

Susan and Sharla rode to the top of the arch, while the rest of us waited on the ground and explored the shops and the museum. Here I am hanging out with Thomas Jefferson.

Across the street from the arch is The Old Courthouse, which is where slaves Dred Scott and his wife Harriet sued for their freedom, a landmark case that spurred the division over slavery in the country and was one of the major events in the chain of events which led to the Civil War. I was thrilled to get to see this courthouse this year, since last year I wasn't able to, and this heart of mine can't stand the thought of having missed out on a historical spot. (You can see part of the International Fur Exchange building about one block behind on the courthouse on the right in this photo.) There was so much more in the St. Louis area I would have loved to have seen... Ulysses S. Grant's house, the Charles Lyndburgh museums, the pioneer and church sites, but there is never enough time to do it all!

Each of the rooms in the courthouse is a museum of different things to do with the history of the St. Louis area. I see things like leech jars and it makes me so grateful to have the medical technologies we have now.

This is the inside of the dome on top of the courthouse. It is covered with all kinds of incredible artwork. I wish we had had more time that I could have looked over every single piece of art.

My classes on Friday were great... full of nice people who were happy to be there! I was even asked for my autograph once, had my picture taken a few times, and somebody saw my necklace and recognized the kids from my blog, which I thought was a cute way to meet a blogreader!(Hi out there!) Kara crakced me up because within ten minutes of the show starting, she had found Donna Downey and struck up a conversation. I met Donna later that day, and was really impressed with just how funny and friendly she seems to be... very nice lady!

I didn't have any classes to teach on Saturday, so Katherine told me to go and relax a bit. Of course, relaxing on the road for me means to go siteseeing! I didn't want to go very far from the convention center, so after I got the computers up I went down the road to go see the Cahokia Mounds, which is the site of the largest Native American city found north of Mexico. I was blown away... it is simply stunning to stand on the mounds and close your eyes, and imagine what it must have been like for the Mississipian people who built this city and the areas around it.

This is the largest mound, called Monks Mound, and it is so large that I could not fit it all in my viewfinder. The chief lived at the top of this mound, which was built over the course of 300 hundred years by men who dug the dirt and carried 50 or 60 pounds of it at a time to the mound site. It is mind boggling to think of all the physical work that went into building just this one mound, let alone all of the mounds around it. I had to go to the top of the Monks Mound, which has two major staircases that lead to the top. I stopped counting after 85 stairs, which wasn't even halfway up. My calf muscles screamed at me for two days afterwards, but it was worth every step.

From the top of the mound you can literally see for hundreds and hundreds of miles around. There is a freeway that goes through the center of national park the Cahokia mounds are in, so I tried to not get it in any of my photos. Here is a picture of St. Louis taken from the top of the mounds. I was trying to capture the height of the mound, but didn't really do it. The trees around it were huge trees as tall as buildings, and they were dwarfed by the mound.

Here I am on top of the mound,(quite wind-blown) and I was awed. I haven't felt this moved by the sheer beauty of the things mankind is capable of building since I stood on top of the Mayan temples in Mexico. It is incredible to me that places like those temples and these mounds still exist, and nothing makes me feel more aware of the past than standing in the same places as those ancient people did.

Being the person I am, I had to take a picture of my feet standing on top of the mound of dirt that was moved thousands of years ago.

There is a museum on the parkgrounds with several of the artifacts that have been found in the Cahokian Mounds and the surrounding area. I have never seen a pot made to look like a face before, so this particular artifact caught my attention. The park and the museum are free... if you are ever near Collinsville, Illinois you should stop by!

I came home yesterday, and my mom and the girls were all dressed up in pink waiting for me to take their picture. The wind kicked up right as we were snapping, so they are all looking a little windblown as well. That hat was one of my grandma's hats that my mom gave to Faith this weekend.

You can laugh at me for this, but I bought the kids St. Patrick's Day clothes last month, and then wouldn't let them wear them until I was able to take some photos. Today was the first chance I had to get them out there for a Leprechaun photo shoot, so now they are allowed to wear the green clothes... :0) Things were going well at first as I was working to get them all to look at me at the same time.

Then this pigeon landed right by my feet and proceeded to walk around my legs and back and forth in front of the kids, and refused to be scared away. Of course, the kids thought that was really cool, so for the most part my photo shoot was over since the rest of the pictures looked something like............


I am spending this week getting the house packed up and taking care of some assignments. I really want to get a travel journal put together in the next few days as well... Katherine has really inspired me in that department! I am heading to Mesa for the CKC show in a week and a half, and I am looking forward to seeing my AZ friends and hitting Ikea!

psssttt... did you notice the new banner? that is the house we are working on buying! You can see the little house in the backyard above our storm shelter too. Jack is going to finish the inside with sheetrock and the kids will have a little playhouse.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hey guys, wait for Beth!

I came home this weekend just really wanting to scrap today, so I decided to work with this photo I printed a couple of weeks ago and was waiting for a chance to use. I don't know how well I really conveyed the message I was trying to send in my journaling simply because I am so tired, but it was nice to just put a page together.

This layout has:
Melissa Frances papers (blue with dots and red stripe)
Pressed Petals paper (black floral)
new Rhonna Farher stamps (swirl)
American Craft letter stickers (black swirly)
Deluxe Designs photo turns
homemade letter stamps for Beth's name (except for the Technique Tuesday stamp for E)
Making Memories punctuation stamps
the outer edges are brushed with white paint, then red paint. The background is a light tan color.
Font is Prissy Frat Boy

Journaling reads: Everyday we walk Kyle to school, with Kyle and Todd leading the way while Beth follows behind them. I love watching the three of them as they trail each other down the path, while I keep watch from the rear. Every twenty feet or so I have to call out and remind the boys to wait for Beth as her little legs try to keep up with them.

Sometimes it is a particularly nostalgic feeling for me. I just know that all too soon these days are going to come to an end. They are going to find ways to go off their own, and they won’t need me to follow behind them to make sure they all stay together. In those
moments I can’t help but think of all the times to come when I am going to remind the boys to look out for their baby sister… bus rides to school, teenage outings, trips to college. I can’t help but think that by teaching them to watch out for her now while they are all so little will help instill a desire in them to protect her when she is older.

But today we are just walking to school, and the boys are eagerly racing forward to see who can get to the gates first. And as Todd and Kyle try to beat each other to the final
destination, I am calling out to them now so that they will hear me when they are older….. "Hey, guys, wait for Beth!"

A Sleepy Weekend

Let me start by sharing that they page I made about Jessica is featured on the front page of Scrap Village if you would like to check it out! I don't know why it ended up looking so crooked, but it isn't really!

I have a confession to make... I am exhausted. In fact, I was so tired this weekend that I didn't even make it to Disney World like I planned to. I simply didn't ahve the energy to walk around the park! That doesn't mean it was a bad weekend, though... on the contrary it was very pleasant and we all got along well. I could use a long massage and two days of sleep, though... LOL I am just uploading "raw" photos this week. If I end up scrapping them I will use the magic of photoshop to make them better, but for better or worse here they are right now!

This was Lisa's first weekend working with us, and we didn't see her much since she spent the evenings with her husband. She was still fun to be around when we did get to see her, and her husband seems pretty funny too. One of our customers brought her husband back to the booth to meet Lisa, and they offered their house to Lisa and her hubby anytime they are in town. Lisa's hubby actually got one of the sports bars to lend him a TV with game control jacks to use in their hotel room while he waited for Lisa to get out of the show. It just cracked me up how they were making friends all over the place!

Brian was one of the bellhops who we kept busy bringing all of our boxes out to take them to the show. I wasn't enjoying trying to back the van (which had terrible blind spots) so Brian offered to do it for me. What a sweetie! I had Johanna grab my camera and take a picture of him.

It was a very nice surprise to run into my friend Ari at the show. She and her mom had the booth right across from ours. Ari and I have been on the same scrapping email loop for almost ten years. It was nice to take a few minutes to catch up and take a couple of photos together!

We went with a new look for the booth this week. We got rid of the laser tables and hung them all up on grid as well, and even though the pics don't do it justice we were really happy with the set up.

We did stop at a Ben and Jerry's for dessert after set-up, and I got to take this shot of Johanna, Sheri, and Ronda waiting for me in front of Wonderworks, which is a hands on science museum. We didn't actually go in the museum, but I thought it looked really cool on the outside with its upside-down design.

Even though I was tired, it was great to spend the weekend with Johanna. I am so blessed to have so many really good friends!

On Sunday night we all went to the flea market and then to dinner. We received the royal treatment during dinner, which was a bit strange. It wasn't just because it was my birthday either. We had the restaraunt manager at our table laughing and chatting with us before Ronda, Johanna, and Sheri even told them it was my birthday. After dinner, I heard the hand-clapping and hollering coming, and I was ready to crawl under my seat. The manager and our server, Leo, and their coworkers came out singing Happy Birthday to me, brought me this humongous hot fudge sundae, and crowned me with a coffee filter hat. Then Leo (who kept calling me Chen-ee-fair with his Brazilian accent) crafted this rose out of a paper napkin for me. He even gave me his card to make sure I sent him our photo... awww.

I got home yesterday afternoon, and I stopped at Costco on the way home to pick up rady-to-heat mashed potatoes and some rotisserie chicken for dinner. When I got home, the kids gave me this lovely bouquet of flowers, and when I got up this morning I found a brand new set of luggage my brother bought for me. (my other new set had the zipper tear out of it already) After dinner last night, the kids sang me happy birthday and we enjoyed some cake together and watched some TV before I crashed out on the couch in sheer exhaustion. I woke up about 4:30 and got into my own bed, and today I feel much better.

Thank you to all of you who sent me birthday wishes! Want to hear something funny? For some reason I thought I was 33 all year long since my last birthday. But this weekend I thought about the dates more carefully and realized I was turning 33 this year, not last. I guess that means I have a whole other year of being 33!

I am leaving tomorrow for St Louis, and then I will be home for a few weeks before the next show. Stop by and say hi if you are there!

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